Supermarketing research

Assistant Professor of Marketing Dr. Jennifer Burton paired two MBA students with Automated Media Services in Washington, D.C., to conduct marketing research and develop a marketing strategy for the company’s new TV technology in grocery stores.

As marketers continue their hunt for innovative ways to influence consumers’ purchasing decisions, East Coast-based Automated Media Services is hoping to make that search easier.

“The idea is obvious,” says the company’s commercial at “Put the world’s most powerful selling medium, television, right in front of shoppers at the moment they are deciding what to buy. And put it right in front of their eyes at the retail store.”

It may seem like a no-brainer, but delivering commercials on store shelves via television, or “3GTV,” as AMS calls it, is no easy task. It takes original research and complex analysis.

That’s where Bradley University Assistant Professor of Marketing Dr. Jennifer Burton and Bradley MBA students come in. Burton wrote her dissertation about buyers’ moment-to-moment emotions to advertisements, and through a mutual contact, AMS brought Dr. Burton on board as an adviser in summer 2009.

“I had the idea of getting some MBA students on the project,” Dr. Burton says. “I knew it would be a good experience for them, and I could guarantee AMS that they would do great work.”

Brad Eskridge and Amber Akisanya, who have since graduated from Bradley’s MBA program, acted as marketing consultants for AMS, as the company began to launch its new technology in the Washington, D.C., area.

Eskridge and Akisanya developed a marketing database so AMS could view its marketing strategy more clearly, based on geographic and demographic information. “It helped them say we’ll take this technology there next, and here’s why,” says Akisanya.

The students also helped create a teaser campaign to increase awareness of 3GTV among grocery store shoppers and marketers, like Coca-Cola, and they traveled to D.C. to conduct field research. “We surveyed customers and entered our data into the marketing software we learned in class and came up with an analytical report about how customers relate to these devices,” Akisanya says. “Overall, we found that shoppers were comfortable with this technology and they found it informative for their shopping needs.” 

Eskridge and Akisanya assisted AMS for about 15 months before concluding their work in September 2011. Eskridge, now an adjunct instructor at Bradley, said it was exciting to work on what may be the most innovative marketing technology available.

“You watch TV in your home right now, but there is not a lot of room for growth there. One place that remains relatively untapped is in stores,” he says. “I think down the road, this technology will become more prevalent because if marketers can deliver their messages closer to the time of purchase, that will ultimately prevail.”

Akisanya adds: “This experience renewed my belief in the entrepreneurial spirit and deepened my passion for marketing, while reassuring me that I picked the right major. The Foster College of Business Administration has really practical classes that translated seamlessly into the real world. When the client is impressed by your skills, it proves that.”